Presence and fate of priority substances in domestic greywater treatment and reuse systems

E. Donner, Eva Eriksson, M. Revitt, L. Scholes, Hans-Christian Holten Lützhøft, Anna Ledin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A wide range of household sources may potentially contribute to contaminant loads in domestic greywater. The ability of greywater treatment systems to act as emission control barriers for household micropollutants, thereby providing environmental benefits in addition to potable water savings, have not been fully explored. This paper investigates the sources, presence and potential fate of a selection of xenobiotic micropollutants in on-site greywater treatment systems. All of the investigated compounds are listed under the European Water Framework Directive as either "Priority Substances" (PS) or "Priority Hazardous Substances" (PHS). Significant knowledge gaps are identified. A wide range of potential treatment trains are available for greywater treatment and reuse but treatment efficiency data for priority substances and other micropollutants is very limited. Geochemical modelling indicates that PS/PHS removal during treatment is likely to be predominantly due to sludge/solid phase adsorption, with only minor contributions to the water phase. Many PS/PHS are resistant to biodegradation and as the majority of automated greywater treatment plants periodically discharge sludge to the municipal sewerage system, greywater treatment is unlikely to act as a comprehensive PS/PHS emission barrier. Hence, it is important to ensure that other source control options (e.g. eco-labeling, substance substitution, and regulatory controls) for household items continue to be pursued, in order that PS/PHS emissions from these sources are effectively reduced and/or phased out as required under the demands of the European Water Framework Directive. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2444-2451
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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